tough test

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Aug 2018 12:36:18

IT WAS indeed a tough Test for the batsmen at Edgbaston where the English and Indian bowlers held complete sway over the proceedings of the first Test of the long series between the two teams. The tone has been set for the rest of the series. The win will certainly give the Englishmen much confidence in facing the top team in international cricket, while the Indian team will have to sort out their batting problems at the earliest to compete on an even keel with the hosts. Their anxiety will be to see that there is no repeat of the last visit’s disaster. Last visit proved to be disastrous for Virat Kohli as he had failed to make much impression then. But now one sees a determined, a highly talented, changed Virat Kohli.

During the Edgbaston Test, which ended within four days, Virat Kohli was waging a lonely battle to keep the hopes of his team afloat. While doing so he produced a monumentally defiant knock of 149, which he will cherish for a long time. While he was piling runs and agony on the English bowlers, at the other end of the wicket his colleagues were struggling and meekly surrendering to English pacemen. A little support from the other end could have made all the difference to the outcome of the match. In the first innings Kohli single-handedly brought near parity with the English score. In the second innings too while he was waging a lonely battle the other end gave hardly any response. The margin of the defeat shows how close Virat Kohli had brought his team to a possible win. However, the batting battery failed him miserably again.

That brings to the fore the struggle that the top order of Indian batting is undergoing. Shikhar Dhawan, Murli Vijay, K.L. Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, the core of Indian batting, lately appear to be woefully out of form. That increases the burden and worry of the Captain. But he cannot be expected to carry on single-handedly all the time. Since the series is too long, others will have to shake off the cobwebs of doubts and show more commitment and determination to come out of the present rust. During the two innings in the Edgbaston Test, surprisingly the lower order batting showed much better solidity in providing necessary support to the captain than the upper half. They may not have added much to the scoreboard but they brought value to their Captain’s cause.

In contrast, the bowling unit seems to be well geared up to make a match of it. They seem to be enjoying the conditions that are on offer on this tour. The bowling unit would certainly make a difference to the proceedings of the rest of the series. Ravichandran Ashwin appears to have made the most of his recall to the team. He made immediate impression with the ball. If he wields the willow as effectively it will add value.